|Posted by Anne Siren on February 19, 2013 at 3:30 PM|
By Phyllis J. Neuberger
Mike Petrakis, owner of Hellenic Foreign Car Repairs, has been located at 41 SW 5 Ct. in Pompano Beach since 1974. He and his associate mechanic, Jim Erkul, work their magic on two brands, Mercedes and BMW cars.
Petrakis says, “I’m a Greek, and Jim was born in Turkey. Where but in a melting pot like America, would you find a Greek and a Turk working well together?”
Mercedes Benz automobile was first marketed in 1901 and is one of the best known and established vehicle brands in the world.
BMW (Bayerische Motoren Werke) or Bavarian Motorworks is headquartered in Munich, Bovaria, Germany. In June 2012, BMW was listed as the #1 most reputable company in the world by Forbes.com.
Petrakis says, “All of my life I have been involved with cars and mechanics. The cars have undergone many changes in the 40 years that I have been working on them. Safety has improved 100 percent. High-end cars, such as the two brands we service, have air bags in the front, on the sides and on top. Sensors in the cars dictate which air bags will activate if a collision occurs. The passengers in these cars are so much safer with these air bags which are triggered as needed immediately at the collision site. The stability control on slippery roads keeps these cars from losing traction. These amazing improvements as well as other conveniences were made possible when computers were installed.”
He continues. “We provide top service and repair specializing in the workings of these two brands. We do continuing education on the technology of the newer models so that we can diagnose and repair any problems that occur.”
Hellenic offers A/C, tune up, factory maintenance, computer diagnosis, and front end work, and the owner claims that he and Jim are kept busy all the time. “I chose to focus my business on these two cars because that’s where I had the most experience. I came from Greece in 1970. I worked in New York for one year and then came to Florida. I worked for the Mercedes dealership in Pompano Beach and in several independent shops while I learned the English language and the ways of America.”
Asked which of the two cars he prefers, he says, “They’re very much on a par. I drive a Mercedes for its comfort and reliability. When I take a long trip I prefer a Mercedes. If I’m going to be driving in traffic, I drive a BMW because of its high performance and precision of driving. It responds quickly to the driver’s demand.”
Mike says his customers prefer him over car dealers for two reasons. “They speak directly to me when describing a problem, and I’m the one who will fix it. And second, our prices are about 30 percent less than the dealers for obvious reasons. We accept any extended warranty and are equipped to do exactly what the dealer would do. We like to have our customers make appointments so that we can give them our full time and attention.”
Although it is not part of his normal business, Mike will accommodate a customer who wants to sell or buy a car if he, Mike, knows the car’s history and value. He claims that these two cars are becoming more and more popular with customers because of their advanced technology.”
He says, “In the last 10 years we have seen more cars with over 100,000 miles and even 200,000 miles than ever before. This is best explained by the fact that they continue to perform better for longer because of the car’s construction and technology. Average ownership now is five or six years. It used to be two or three years. The cars cost less to maintain so drivers are keeping them longer. I’ve been doing my work for over 50 years. I still enjoy it and find it challenging.”
Married with one daughter, Mike’s hobby is working in the shop when it’s closed. “That’s when I tackle the most difficult jobs that require concentration. My philosophy is “Where there’s difficulty, there is opportunity for success.” No car leaves our shop until it is right. We are proud of our name and our work.”
Brett Snyder, Miami, says he’s been bringing his Mercedes to Mike for 10 years. “Mike takes time to solve complex problems and he knows these cars inside and out. He takes pride in his work and he makes me feel like a member of his family. I have a 1979 Mercedes 6.9 and a 2004 Mercedes CL 5S. I love them both.
Jerilyn Caesar, Pompano, is on her fourth Mercedes and says, “Mike has checked out every one of my cars before I bought them. He’s the best. He’s a master mechanic as well as being honest and fair in his charges. I’ve been a proud customer for years.”
Meta Berk, owner of Mercedes Showroom in Pompano Beach, says, “We’re a business that has used Mike’s services for about 30 years. We sell used Mercedes and BMWs, but before we offer them, we have Mike check them out and fix anything that needs fixing. His knowledge of and workmanship on these German cars is the best. When he says they’re ready, they are ready.”
Call 954-941-3737. Visit the web site at hellenicauto.com or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.